A time to say thanks

Trustee Lisa Kranc '75, who hosted the event, with Ledia Erkou ’17 and President Ron Liebowitz and his wife, Jessica
  • View a brief event slideshow.
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  • Watch videos of the luncheon speakers.

By Brian Klotz

“Your benevolence allows countless students like me to have the opportunity to pursue our dreams and make a difference in the lives of others,” Andrew Baker ’18 told attendees at the 15th annual Brandeis Scholarship Appreciation Luncheon, “just as you have made a difference and lasting impression on mine.” Baker is the recipient of the Susan Sandler Shin ’64 and Seung-il Shin ’64 Endowed Scholarship and is studying International and Global Studies, Russian and Health: Science, Society and Policy.

As a featured student speaker at the annual event, which brings students and donors together to celebrate the transformative impact of scholarships at Brandeis, Baker recounted the challenges he has overcome. Born with muscular dystrophy, he found a physical benefit and a sense of belonging in competitive swimming. “It was an activity that not only helped to keep my muscles strong,” Baker explained, “but allowed me for the first time to feel like I was a part of something bigger. I loved being a part of a team.”

Without scholarship support, Baker would not have been able to attend Brandeis, where he is a member of the swimming and diving team. Coach Mike Kotch and assistant coach Eric Thurston joined hundreds of other attendees in thunderous applause for Baker as he concluded his speech.

Sam and Sara Kranc Scholar Ledia Erkou ’17 echoed Baker’s gratitude for the financial support that has made her Brandeis experience possible. She began her speech by looking back on her initial application essay to the University. “I wrote, ‘Many people associate success with how their own life turns out. However, I believe my success should not only be measured by how my life changes, but also by how many other lives will be changed because of the great things I will be able to do.’ Success is not just about yourself; it is about impacting other people.”

Erkou describes finding a resonance from this statement with Trustee Lisa Kranc ’75, who established the scholarship in honor of her parents. “Luckily for me,” said Erkou, “she decided to let others benefit from her success and invested in my education. Lisa and all of the other Brandeis donors here today may not realize it, but you all have catalyzed the growth of students like me, and soon enough that generosity will be amplified into a never-ending cycle of giving.”

Kranc, who served as host of the luncheon, is familiar with the value of scholarship support as both a donor and a beneficiary. “I, along with my brother and four cousins, were scholarship recipients at Brandeis,” she explained. “My parents, Sam and Sara Kranc, were Holocaust survivors. They always stressed the value of education in the pursuit of one’s dreams and aspirations.”

During her remarks, Kranc took a moment to recognize Nancy Winship, P’10, P’13, who has been the University’s senior vice president of institutional advancement since 1994 and will transition to a role as chief philanthropic adviser to President Ron Liebowitz. “In her 23 years at Brandeis,” said Kranc, “Nancy and her team have raised hundreds of millions of dollars for scholarships and fellowships that have helped tens of thousands of students. Without Nancy’s remarkable talents, we would not have been able to recruit such an incredible student body.”

Kranc also thanked Liebowitz, “whose words and deeds since he became our president 10 months ago have re-affirmed our commitment to Brandeis’ historical mission.”

Liebowitz called the Scholarship Appreciation Luncheon “an event that recognizes a cornerstone of Brandeis – creating educational opportunities for all. It is the people in this room that enable this University to continue offering a world-class education to the most deserving of students.”

Categories: Giving, Students
Date: April 28, 2017